Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rule 34A: Ladders Can Turn on You

I try to live my life by a few simple rules. For example:

1. The workday ends at 6:00 p.m. unless there's a life and death reason to continue. (Note: this mainly applies to weekends and finishing up household chores and duties)

2. Happy hour starts at 6:00 p.m. (this rule also helps St. Pauli Girl tolerate rule number one)

These are just a couple of examples, but I never know when I'll be adding a new rule.

Our new house has motion detector floodlights in the backyard. We never noticed this until one morning after a vicious thunderstorm, St. Pauli Girl saw the lights flashing like a strobe light on a disco ball.

"The poor dogs probably didn't get any sleep," she said.

"Yeah, well they were probably dancing."

She didn't find that humorous and later that day, I climbed up a ladder to disable the motion detector. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a power switch; instead I set the sensor to its lowest setting and aimed the detector at the wall. Unless we had an earthquake, the lights shouldn't come on again.

A week later, we went to put the dogs outside at about 11:00 p.m. For some reason, the lights were flashing, and no one was dancing. I pulled the ladder from the garage and set it against the house. This was an extension ladder where you could slide part of the ladder higher and some sort of locking mechanism would hold it in place.

I started climbing the ladder then paused to shield my eyes from the blinking floodlights above me. Suddenly, the ladder slid down by one rung. The locking mechanism must have failed. Luckily, I kept my balance and remained standing on the ladder. Then everything seemed to go in slow motion.

The ladder slipped down another rung. I held onto the ladder but this time my left foot got caught between two rungs. A sharp stab of pain shot through my foot. At this point I realized the ladder would continue to collapse rung by rung, so I would have to free myself. Luckily, I noticed I stood only three rungs above the ground. Before the ladder gave way again, I stretched and got my right foot on the ground. This improved my situation, but my left foot remained stuck in the ladder.

I yanked my left leg hoping to pull my foot from the ladder. Instead the entire ladder pulled back from the house toward me. But the top heavy ladder shifted and started falling to the ground left of me, pulling my foot with it. I danced and hopped on one leg toward it as it fell. When it hit the ground, it spun me around, and I fell onto my left arm on the concrete sidewalk. As I lay on the ground cursing and wondering what part of me hurt more, Bonny the dog came over and licked my face in a friendly gesture. Either that or she hoped to eat my dead carcass.

The good news was that my foot was no longer stuck in the ladder. The better news was that my foot no longer hurt or maybe it just didn't hurt in comparison to the pain in my arm. I suffered enough injuries in my youth to realize nothing was broken. I self-diagnosed myself with a bruised elbow and sprained wrist.

After a sleepless night, I spent the next day wondering how cavemen survived. "I could hardly type much less kill a sabre-tooth tiger or even gather nuts and berries," I thought. "Stuff like this must have happened to them all the time."

After six weeks, I'm mostly recovered although I probably couldn't operate a tomahawk right now if I had to. Luckily I'm right-handed. But this incident forced me to add a new rule/caveat to my life:
Nothing good happens that involves a ladder after 11:00 p.m.


  1. I think your last line is all too true.

    And I think she wanted to eat your carcass.

    1. I think you're right. Thanks for the comment!

  2. What is it with men and ladders?

    Just as well it was Bonnie and not Bo...Bo probably would've lifted his leg!

    Silly man! Stuff the light...or get a professional in to remove it (I mean a professional case you have other ideas)! :)

    I hope by now you're all mended...and have also, from the accident, knocked some sense into your head!!!! Take care!

    1. I think you're right about Bo. Definitely knocked some sense into me. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Ladders are dangerous things. My boss shattered his elbow last year when his ladder tipped over. Glad you weren't more seriously injured. Wondered why you were being so silent on this blog!

    1. Lesson learned. It wasn't until the next day that I got queasy thinking how worse it would have been had I been higher up on the ladder. Thanks for the comment!